Kanellos, New Trier stun Glenbrook South at buzzer
Evan Kanellos was not letting that basketball go. The ball he won the game with.
Out of a New Trier timeout with 1.4 seconds left in the fourth quarter and a tie score against Glenbrook South, the Trevians' Logan Feller prepared to inbound that ball from behind his own basket.
Jake Fiegen set a screen in the lane, players converged and Kanellos broke free to convert Feller's chest pass for an easy layup as time expired. No. 1 seed New Trier won its own Class 4A sectional semifinal 42-40 over the No. 4 Titans on Tuesday in Northfield.
"Everyone thought the ball was going to go to Jake," a smiling Kanellos, cradling that basketball, said of 15-point scorer Fiegen. "He set a good screen on me, I came wide open. Logan put it right there, layup for the win. That was unreal."
New Trier (30-4) advanced to Friday's sectional final against the winner of Wednesday's semifinal between No. 2 seed Glenbrook North (27-4) and No. 3 Rolling Meadows (27-6).
In a gym full of fans and tension, Feller didn't want to belabor the drama any longer against Central Suburban League South rival Glenbrook South (25-9).
"Me personally, I'm thinking, we do not want to send this game to OT. We want to win now," he said.
That's because the Titans, led by Nick Taylor with 15 points and Gaven Marr with 14, plus Griffin Dahiya's badgering defense on Fiegen, were fully capable of advancing themselves.
A 13-0 Titans run spanning the second and third quarters gave Glenbrook South its first lead of the game, 27-21.
"Our kids struck to the script, they stuck to the game plan, the game plan was working, and we had a chance to win. Probably not a lot of people would have had us having a chance to win tonight," said Titans coach Phil Ralston.
A Kanellos fadeaway in the lane pulled the Trevians within 29-28 after three quarters.
In the final 8 minutes there were four lead changes, including Kanellos' finale, and two ties. New Trier closed on a 6-0 run including Fiegen's slicing drive to tie 40-40 with 2:33 left to play.
Glenbrook South ran more than a minute off the clock before missing a shot. After New Trier coach Scott Fricke took timeout, his team ran clock until the Titans' R.J. Davis swatted a shot out of bounds with 1.4 seconds remaining.
It set the stage for New Trier's third win of the season over Glenbrook South.
"It's hard to beat a team three times in a year," Fricke said. "They played great; I thought Taylor played unbelievable. Our kids had some perseverance because we couldn't make a basket and we just fought through it. Our kids are tough as nails."
Taylor is a 6-foot-7 junior who will return, while mainstays like Davis and Marr will graduate.
"I mean, it came down to the wire, that's just a classic playoff game," Taylor said. "I had a lot of fun, I'm really proud of my guys. It was a tremendous season and I can't wait for next season."